On June 27, 2014, the body of 20-year-old Andrew Sadek, a promising electrical student at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) in Wahpeton, North Dakota, was pulled from the Red River bordering North Dakota and Minnesota.
Missing for two months, the young man was found shot in the head, wearing a backpack filled with rocks.
The grisly death of a college student in one of the safest towns in the state, where violent crime is extremely rare, did not lead to a sweeping investigation. In fact, police immediately said they did not suspect foul play.
Such a supposition strains credulity as it is, but what would be slowly revealed over the following months is that Andrew had been working as a confidential informant for the police, and that his school knew that authorities were busting its students and using them as bait to catch drug dealers.
This is a story of overzealous prosecution of minor drug offenses by a task force answerable only to itself, callous official indifference toward a grieving family, and a lack of transparency by authorities that raises more questions than it answers.
Paramount among these questions: Why are police using non-violent, first-time offenders in the very dangerous role of confidential informant?